Barking dispersal zone targets antisocial youths

Police have been given the powers to remove teenagers from a trouble-blighted spot after residents complained about anti-social behaviour and intimidation.

The council has given the green light for the creation of a dispersal zone, which will be set up in a designated residential area near Barking town centre.

The order will come into effect on January 5 and encompass Fanshaw Avenue, Northern Relief Road, Bamford Road and the alleyway between Harpour Road and Fanshaw Avenue.

Residents in those areas have been complaining about harassment and distress after witnessing disorder, anti-social behaviour and the dealing and taking of drugs.

Youths under 16 will not be permitted in the dispersal zone between 9pm and 6am unless they are with a parent or a responsible adult.

Police can remove them by taking them home or somewhere safe.

Anyone who breaks police orders to leave the zone and to not return within 24 hours can be arrested.

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Acting police borough commander Supt Gary Buttercase stressed that dispersal orders are a “vital tool” in helping to combat crime and disorder.

He said: “The order itself reinforces the message that crime and anti-social behaviour will not be tolerated in Barking and Dagenham, and that where it arises we will relentlessly pursue those who have a negative effect on the quality of life for law-abiding members of our community.”

Cllr Jeanne Alexander, cabinet member for crime, justice and communities, said: “The council is pleased to be working with the police on this and is determined to stop the actions of a minority group of people who are intent on causing anti-social behaviour in and around these areas.”

She added: “Residents have quite rightly had enough, and so by us working together we are determined to stamp this behaviour out.”